• Mary Anderson

When I Hit the Deer

People keep asking me if I am afraid to be on the trail alone. Yes, I am leery of grizzly bears, icy snowfields, and raging rivers, but my experience driving across country last May was as scary as a lot of things I encounter on the trail.

When I hit the deer I thought the worst was over for the day. Hah. I spent the last few hours of that day driving in rain that was scary. It was hard to see, and there was lightning flashing all around. I kept going because I wanted to stay ahead of the tornado watches, which had authorities clearing the interstate. Yipes. This made hitting a deer seem less traumatic.

I’m sure more people per capita are killed on the highway than on trail. I was leery of some people in the rest areas where I slept and trucks weaving across lanes on the highway. I wasn’t even worrying about deer or tornados.

To put it in perspective, most people are not going to hurt me, most cars don’t have accidents, and most hikers come back alive. I think people fear the trail more because it is an unknown. It does take a lot of stamina and preparation, and I do have to be careful, but this was true on my 1,800-mile drive west.

Another thing I want to keep in perspective is that this is my choice. I hope I can remind myself of that when I am wet, cold, hungry, exhausted, and miserable on the trail. There are plenty of people facing these difficulties on a daily basis who have not willingly put themselves into those situations. No matter how hard this hike will be, it is still a luxury to be able to do such a thing.

I need to keep whatever happens in perspective. I am blessed to be out here and to have the support I have.

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